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Thermo, Harvard Establish Center for Multiplexed Proteomics

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Thermo Fisher Scientific Center for Multiplexed Proteomics at Harvard Medical School aims to expedite understanding of complex disease mechanisms.

Scientists working to discover protein-based biomedical breakthroughs are constrained by the time and cost required to identify and quantify large numbers of proteins. Thermo Fisher Scientific and researchers at Harvard Medical School have teamed up to develop promising new ways to perform protein quantitation on a much larger scale than currently possible, with the goal of accelerating discovery of effective therapies.

The two organizations have established the Thermo Fisher Scientific Center for Multiplexed Proteomics at Harvard Medical School. The new facility is headed by Harvard Medical School cell biology professor Dr. Steven Gygi. The work focuses on advancing multiplexing technology - the ability to analyze multiple protein samples in a single mass spectrometer run – to gain new insight into the mechanisms of life. Dr. Gygi has pioneered the use of “tandem mass tags” (TMT) for multiplexed protein analysis, and researchers will combine this expertise with new generation mass spectrometry technology to seek ways to increase the amount of quantitation that can be performed by orders of magnitude without sacrificing data quality.

Under the collaboration, Harvard Medical School scientists will investigate improved methods and develop training courses to make this expertise available to the greater scientific community. Thermo Fisher Scientific is providing instrumentation support with the new Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Fusion “Tribrid” mass spectrometer introduced in June 2013, which was developed to solve challenges such as complex protein quantitation.

“This new Center is the first of its kind,” said Dr. Gygi. “Our goal was to bring disruptive technologies in quantitative proteomics to as many researchers as possible. Multiplexing 10 protein samples, be they from cells, tissues, or fluids, represents a landmark increase. This facilitates complicated experimental designs including time-course and dose-response studies. Combining new isobaric reagents with purpose-driven instrumentation allows for proteome-wide measurements of protein expression differences simultaneously across 10 samples in about 24 hours. It is simply fantastic.”

“We feel that this collaboration and new multiplexed analysis capability will usher in a new era in functional proteomics, increasing understanding of mechanisms of disease and evaluation of potential new therapies,” said Dr. Iain Mylchreest. vice president, research and development, chromatography and mass spectrometry, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We aimed high with the Orbitrap Fusion mass spec platform, and we are eager to see what Steve’s group can achieve with it.”

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